The Age-Friendly Committee is working with the Valley Youth Centre from Agassiz Harrison Community Services (AHCS) to put on a day of Age-friendly Tech-Savvy Training at the Legion.
While the details still need to be heard and approved by Harrison council, Age-friendly Committee member Ed Arndt said the event is a perfect way to help locals get the most out of their internet access and digital gadgets.
“There are seniors who don’t have email,” he said. “Everything is given to them through email and they’re missing a lot of information.”
A 2014 study by Pew Research Center showed 59 per cent of American seniors go online every day. In Agassiz- Harrison, with a large portion of the population over 50, learning to use the Internet to research information and connect with others is a huge advantage.
Last year the committee had a program with weekly meetings, but Arndt says the new approach –one big event– will help ensure more people can come out and learn.
Participants in this year’s Tech-Savvy Training will learn the basics –turning on, operating and getting information from their devices as well as learning some social media tips.
“Once we show them how to get into their emails, we show them how to use Facebook,”Arndt said. “Facebook has become a main source of communication for a lot of people around here –you’ve got the Harrison’s Happening [group], the Legion’s Facebook, Community Services, I mean everyone is on there, and if you go to these Facebook [pages] you can find out what activities, what services are being offered.”
Taught by local youth from the Valley Youth Centre, the training day will connect Agassiz and Harrison’s tech-savvy teens with older residents.
Youth outreach worker for the centre Anika Allan says programs like these not only help the senior “technology students” but have huge benefits for the youth volunteers.
“A lot of the kids often don’t get asked their opinion on things,” she said. “They feel like they don’t have any skills and then they walk into a situation like this where they are the expert. They all the sudden realize, ‘Hey, I can do things! I can teach other people things! I have value.’”
Allan adds that developing relationships across generations is valuable for the community.
“It’s great for them to form relationships with people from another generation that they might not spend a lot of time with otherwise,” she said. “To cross boundaries in society that often keep people apart. It makes the community stronger.”
While the event is geared to local seniors, anyone who needs tech-help is invited to attend. Arndt said if turnout is good, the committee will consider hosting a second tech-savvy event. The committee will be arranging transportation for Agassiz and Harrison residents to get to the Legion.
Look for upcoming details regarding date and time of the event in the Observer.